AP United States History 10�
DBQ #7: Slavery and Sectional Attitudes
By the eve of the Civil War slavery had become a very controversial topic, primarily between the Northern and Southern United States. Northerners and Southerners had developed very different views toward the issue of slavery. Northerners saw the institution as an evil, whereas Southerners defended as a good. Each side had theories and reasons to justify their viewpoints. These theories can be categorized in three main groups, moral justification, environmental justification, and economical justification. Northerners argued that the treatment of slaves was harsh and cruel, however Southerners argued that the treatment of slaves were far better than the treatment of factory workers. The economy of the South was also another large issue as the backbone of Southern economy lay on the shoulders of slave labor. Abolishing slavery would undoubtedly lead to the collapse of the Southern economy. Unfortunately, the excessive use of slave and harvesting of cotton greatly affected the environment. As a result many farmers kept moving West in search of more fertile land. Tensions about the institution of slavery between the North and South would continue to grow until threatening the unity of the nation itself in the United States Civil War.
The national premise that "all men are created equal" was set when the Founding Fathers crafted the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. Naturally, many arguments resulted from disputes about whether or not the principle should pertain to slaves. Southerners took much pride in their presumed racial superiority. Of course, if the slaves were freed the feeling would gradually vanish. Often, slaves weren't even treated as human beings, many Southern farmers simply saw slaves as valuable investments, especially during the terribly unethical slave auctions. During the slave auctions mother, daughter, son, husband, wife, would frequently be separate, never to see each other again. In fact, slaves were many times sold off with livestock or cattle. Perhaps the greatest sin, still, was the separation of families. Abolitionists generally despised the practice of slave auctions and the auctions were even the basis of the plot of Stowe's acclaimed 1852 novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin (Doc. H). Another controversial moral issue about the institution of slavery was the treatment of slave laborers. The reason this topic was so controversial was that different sides, North and South, depicted different viewpoints of Southern slave treatment. Of course Northerners claimed that slaves were treated harshly and inhumanely, whereas Southerners described just the opposite. In fact, Southerners lashed back with their own argument claiming the condition of Northern factory workers was far worse than that of Southern slaves (Doc. A). Ultimately, throughout the nation the word "slavery"...